Submitted to: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/17/2014
Publication Date: 3/11/2014
Citation: Blaker, K., Plotto, A., Baldwin, E.A., Olmstead, J.W. 2014. Correlation between sensory and instrumental measurements of standard and crisp-texture southern highbush blueberries(Vaccinium corymbosum L. interspecific hybrids). Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 94(13):2785-2793. Interpretive Summary: Blueberry breeders have been trying to breed firmer blueberries, but had trouble measuring firmness both physically and according to consumer perception. In this study a common set of descriptors were developed by a sensory panel which then did an evaluation of texture for blueberry selections from the University of Florida blueberry breeding program. These descriptors correlated with physical/instrumental measurements for compression and puncture force. Crispness was identified as a new texture for blueberries possessed by two new releases from the breeding program.
Technical Abstract: The University of Florida blueberry breeding program has been developing Southern highbush blueberry cultivars for over 50 years. During this period, fruit firmness has been a primary selection trait. A novel texture, most often described as “crisp” was identified, but the anatomical and physiological basis of this trait is not understood, nor its inheritance pattern. Two releases from the program, ‘Bluecrisp’, and ‘Sweetcrisp’, possess this crisp fruit texture, and many advanced seedling selections have been subjectively identified. In this study, we developed a common set of descriptors that align sensory evaluation of fruit texture with instrumental measures that could be used for quantitative measurements during breeding selection. Sensory and instrumental characteristics were measured in 36 and 49 genotypes demonstrating a broad range of firmness in 2010 and 2011, respectively. A trained sensory panel evaluated fresh fruit based on five common textural categories in 2010 and 2011: bursting energy, flesh firmness, skin toughness, juiciness, and mealiness. Blueberry flavor and grittiness were added in 2011. Instrumental measures of compression and puncture forces were significantly different among cultivars and correlated with sensory scores for bursting energy, flesh firmness, and skin toughness (R > 0.7, except skin toughness in 2011), but correlations with sensory scores for juiciness and mealiness were low (R < 0.4). The results of sensory and instrumental measures support the use of instrumental measures in distinguishing crisp from non-crisp cultivars, and suggest that crispness is related to the sensory perception of bursting energy, flesh firmness, and skin toughness.